State a world leader in cardiac survival rates

VICTORIA’S cardiac survival rates are among the best in the world, but a Warrnambool doctor has warned south-west residents not to become complacent when it comes to heart health.

Victorian Health Minister David Davis released a new report last week confirming the odds of survival from a cardiac arrest were higher in 2012-13 than any other year over the past decade.

South West Healthcare emergency physician Dr Tim Baker said the results were good but the public should not be unconcerned.

Mr Davis said 50 per cent of patients in 2012-13 whose hearts had stopped beating but still had shockable rhythms were able to be revived and 26 per cent of the cardiac arrest patients survived to be discharged from hospital after treatment. 

“The proportion of patients who survive their cardiac arrest and are discharged from hospital has risen by 12 per cent since 2003-04,” he said.

“Victoria’s 26 per cent of cardiac arrest patients who walk out the hospital door is in stark contrast to the pooled survival rate reported across a range of jurisdictions across the world, which is just 7.2 per cent. 

“Even compared with countries with the highest baseline survival rates, Victoria is 3 per cent above the pooled average.” 

Dr Baker said South West Healthcare played an important role in managing patients’ care after a cardiac arrest.

“Once the heart is going again we still have to treat the heart attack,” he said.

“We have to treat the underlying problem.”

Dr Baker said south-west residents should also take travel time and distance into account if heart attack symptoms were present.

“The further away you live, the earlier you should call the ambulance to go to hospital,” he said.

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